Why Alpha? My story..
I searched for well over a year to buy a 'real' camera. I firmly believed it would be the successor to the Fuji s6000.. but the 8000 had neither manual zoom lens nor super-CCD so I looked elsewhere. I suspected it could be the Casio F1.. but for that price I could have a dSLR! I then thought it would be a small, hiker-friendly Olympus, either the e500 or e510.. but the e500 close-out system was not enough cheaper than new models, and the e510 didn't test as well as the Alpha (or the e500!) at my local Ritz store. Also.. the 4/3 cameras really were not smaller, at least not appreciably so. I really wanted image stablilzation (IS) in some form (sorry, e500), and checked out the Nikon d60 with its IS lens, but the price was enough higher to keep me away. Finally, in mid-April 2008, the a200 went on sale - and I made my decision. Since I had pestered my local Ritz dealer for so long, their patience earned my business.. after they matched a sale price from another store :-)
The features on the Sony were either cool or useful, and the mix was enough to sway me. Besides IS, shadow-boost technology (Sony's DRO, Nikon's D-Optimizer) was of value to me; Olympus is doing this now with their e420. Another consideration was my shooting style: I crop my images more often towards the 16:9 ratio than 4:3, so the Olympus sensor format was less appealing. [If you wanted 16:9 image format on a big sensor in early 2008, it was Sony or nobody!] Battery life and feedback are also worthy of note. On the cool side, the rotating info screen on the screen is now showing up on Canons, but the Sony had it sooner - and I like it. Program-shift is indispensible to the way I shoot, and as soon as I picked up the Alpha it worked the way it should - with no reading required.
I was very tempted to wait for the a300, but early reviews of the a350 suggested I would be trading off a few things (a bit more weight, higher price & tighter viewfinder.. and lower battery life?) for the supposed wonders of live view and a tilting screen. Since my Casio P505 has the rotating screen, I do enjoy it.. but I really want a great optical viewfinder & didn't feel like compromising it. I had also waited long enough - giving everyone another year to make my dream camera was killing too much time as I checked reviews and forums for hints!!
I seem to have ignored Canons in my debate, partly because Ritz had none but I also wasn't endeared to them. The XT was not appealing to me at all, in size or style, and other models were above my preferred price - and as the number-one seller, they wouldn't miss me anyway.
JimR, a200 user
@ jimr-pdx: Welcome aboard and thanks for the backfill on your decision to ... "join the club!"
I think you will find to there is a good variety of shooters on our forum and everyone seems anxious to offer any help or assistance in shot considerations. As always, we recommend you post a shot of two ... if you do ask for assistance.
Just a heads up: "Kit lens" shots are not really popular on this forum, due to the inferior results that usually result from its use. Also, do not base your next lens' price on what you paid for your A200. They have absolutely nothing to do with one another.
If you are looking for some improved "glass" at a fair price, that usually provide very acceptable results, click on THIS LINK and have a quick read through.
Also, I cannot stress enough that this forum is full of experiences and ideas that you can easily incorporate into your photography, so get a cup of java and read the threads posted. They go all the way back to when the A100 was first introduced ... so you have it all available. For the most part, a good bit of healthy discussion concerning the newer releases (A200, A300, A350) has taken place in the last six months ... and definitely worth a good long look.
Also, vote (<- click here) & get in on the "Christmas Still" contest. You could get yourself a TAMRON AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 LD lens for turning in what is voted "the best" Christmas composition, due in by 12/15/2008 (see the thread for rules)
Again, welcome and ... by all means, ENJOY :D
add to that the rotating LCD and more effective LV implementation. they are the top 3.
Originally Posted by Turn
My name's Bob and I'm addicted to photography.
Well almost; I mean that it's geting that way. Actually I'm a novicebut terribly enthusiastic.
For me the choice of choosing a camera didn't start with weighing up the big brands, but rather my main question was, "Do I want a DSLR camera at all?". Extensive reading of forums followed and my eyes were opened to the vast world of science and creativty that a DSLR pulls its owner into.
From then on it was definitely a case of Nikon, Canon or to my surprise, Sony. First of all I must admit that I broke into a mild sweat at the moment it became apparent to me that the vast array of lenses available as extensions to one's camera inventory can cost the equivalent of Iceland's current national capital balance. Upon reading this forum however it would seem that there was one of the three possible suitors that offered a marvellous solution: backwards compatibility with older, quality lenses.
This actually made my decision for me and two month s on I'm not regretting it. Thus far I've managed to accumulate:
Sigma 24 F2.8
Minolta 35-70 F3.5-4.6 (not very impressive but only cost £10)
Minolta 35-70 F4 (actually very nice with a decent macro setting too)
Minolta 50 F1.7 (wonderful lens that I use a lot indoors with my family)
Minolta 70-210 F4 (So far I have loved this lens)
And all of this cost me..... drumroll....... £233!!! Yes, two hundred and thirty three pounds. I could not obtain this range of glass for this price with any other DSLR manufacturer's body.
Thanks Sony for opening up the DSLR hobby to non-Sheikh Princes.
And thanks to this forum; it continues to offer a plethora of reading on every aspect of photography, rendering it invaluable.
That's quite a bargain for those lenses! I feel the same way...... a novice, yet totally enthusiastic and excited!
So Bob, 233 pounds eh, ummmmmmmm how did you manage that? stolen goods? LOL ok just kidding, welcome aboard, thank god I'm not the only glass junky here now! Where abouts in the UK?
I live in Newcastle upon Tyne :)
I got them all from ebay and considering the 70-210 cost me £145, the others were total bargains!!
Ah your from good beer country, or should I say ale. My mother was born and raised just outside of Belfast, have friends and family all over the UK was why I asked. You did VERY well on the lenses. I just got the 70-210 3.5 - 4.5 for a bargin. I don't really need it but something to play around with, really suffers from some major zoom creep.
I will get the a900 as soon as the price drops and stabilizes...no hurry till then
I bought my Sony a200 just month ago and have so far been happy with it. I'm still learning as all those adjustable settings are a big jump from the old Digital Ixus 65 I've been using for a couple of years.
I didn't purchase my Sony by impulse and I also considered many other brands. I was a bit worried about Sony's noise performance but I can definately say it has not been a problem.
So, why I bought a200? First of all, my parents had a Minolta Dynax 500si with three lenses (check my signature). That, along the built-in Super Steadyshot image stabilization made me choose a200. It's certainly a big plus!
I bought my camera used, but the previous owner had bought it just about some two months ago so it was practically new! I also own a Sony NWZ-S615F DAP and it is the greatest mp3 player ever! Well, you might say DSLR's and mp3 player's have a little in common, but I've heard Sony tends to release its products fully completed, not having to constantly fix them with firmwares and I though that could be the case with Sony cameras too.